GSD Talks: Whither Theory: A Panel Discussion on Architectural Research Methodology

As old as the discipline itself, theory has always been a component of architecture. Reborn during the age of post-structuralism, it flourished in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, only to be declared dead in the ‘oughts. But the notion of the end of theory (along with history, the subject, and other conceits) has not been particularly accurate. Focusing on the legacies of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, among others, this discussion will rehearse the history of architectural theory, as well as a consideration of its rigor, status, and future.
Central here is the role of methodology in current architectural scholarship. What is the lens through which we understand the built environment, including its relationship to issues such as society, history, politics, technology, otherness, subjectivity, and so forth? To what degree does the critical tradition continue to impact our approach to analysis, regardless of historical subject matter? And, what methodological frameworks have been opened since theory’s pronounced death at the turn of the twenty-first century?
Moderated by Edward Eigen, K. Michael Hays, and Antoine Picon, this discussion will include four brief presentations by Ph.D. students and candidates at the Harvard Graduate School of Design: Jana Cephas, Bryan Norwood, Christopher Rogacz, and Marrikka Trotter. Speculative in nature, these talks are meant to raise issues and spark discussion on different approaches to considering the built environment.
This event adjoins the Friday conference, Cambridge Talks VII: Architecture and the Street. Both events are free and open to the public.

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Principal Speaker: 2018

Additional Speakers: 2474

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office at (617) 496-2414 or